Earlier this month, we enjoyed two days surrounded by sun, surf, great food, and an enormous amount of high quality Pinot Noirs. That’s right, we were at the 2013 World of Pinot Noir in Shell Beach. With about 200 wineries participating we found some new discoveries, and reminded ourselves why we love some of our favorite Pinot Noir producers.
We are very fond of this varietal and always appreciate hearing about good wines made from it. If you keep reading, we’ll share our favorite wines from the Grand Tastings in case you are looking for new discoveries yourself. Several wineries below already represent a significant portion of our wine cellar, but many of them are places we have not visited yet so they are now on our “To-Do” list.
Favorite Wines at the 2013 World of Pinot Noir
At this year’s event, the organizers tried something new by having the Friday Grand Tasting focus on smaller lots of Pinot Noir, while expanding the number of wineries participating at the Saturday Grand Tasting (which added an additional tent to the proceedings). We enjoyed the shift with the more focused tasting on the first day, and hope to see it again next year.
Here are our favorites from two days of tasting. If you are a fan of Pinot Noir and haven’t tried these wines yourself, we recommend you check out the wineries and/or look for these in your local wine stores, restaurants or online:
Ancien Wines (Napa, CA) – 2010 Jouissance and 2010 Fiddlestix Pinot Noirs
Belle Glos (Rutherford, CA) – 2011 Clark & Telephone Vineyard
Benovia Winery (Santa Rosa, CA) – 2010 Cohn Vineyard and 2010 La Pommeraie Pinot Noirs
Bergström Wines (Newberg, OR) – 2011 de Lancellotti Vineyard, 2011 Shea Vineyard, 2011 Temperance Hill Vineyard, and 2010 Le Pré du Col Pinot Noirs
Bonaccorsi Wine Company (Buellton, CA) – 2010 Sebastiano Pinot Noir
Brewer-Clifton (Lompoc, CA) – 2010 3D and 2010 Machado Pinot Noirs
Byron Wines (Santa Maria, CA) – 2011 Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir
Cartograph (Healdsburg, CA) – 2010 Floodgate Vineyard and 2010 Perli Vineyard Pinot Noirs
Chamisal Vineyards (San Luis Obispo, CA) – 2010 Monologue Pinot Noir
DeLoach Vineyards (Santa Rosa, CA) – 2010 Estate Collection Pinot Noir
Dierberg Vineyard (Santa Ynez, CA) – 2010 Drum Canyon Vineyard, 2010 Santa Maria Valley, and 2009 “Steven” Pinot Noirs
Domaine Serene (Dayton, OR) – 2009 Yamhill Cuvée and 2008 Evanstad Reserve Pinot Noirs
Fiddlehead Cellars (Lompoc, CA) – 2010 Lollapalooza, 2009 Lollapalooza, 2010 Oldsville Reserve and 2009 “728” Pinot Noirs
Fog Crest Vineyard (Sebastopol, CA) – 2011 Laguna West Pinot Noir
Freeman Winery (Sebastopol, CA) – 2011 Keefer Ranch and 2011 Akiko’s Cuvée Pinot Noirs
Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery (Healdsburg, CA) – 2010 Rochioli Vineyard Pinot Noir
J.K. Carriere (Newberg, OR) – 2010 Vespidae Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Keefer Ranch (Sebastopol, CA) – 2010 Pinot Noir
Kenneth Volk Vineyards (Santa Maria, CA) – 2009 Santa Maria Cuvée and 2009 Garey Vineyard Pinot Noirs
Kessler-Haak Vineyard & Wines (Lompoc, CA) – 2010 Clone 2A and 2009 Kessler-Haak Estate Pinot Noirs
La Fenêtre Wines (Santa Maria, CA) – 2010 Presqu’ile Vineyard, 2010 Bien Nacido Vineyard, 2008 Sierra Madre Pinot Noirs
Masút Vineyard and Winery (Redwood Valley, CA) – 2011 Block 1, 2011 Block 11 and 2011 Estate Vineyard Pinot Noirs
Mercy Vineyards (Marina, CA) – 2009 Cedar Lane Vineyard Pinot Noir
Pali Wine Co. (Lompoc, CA) – 2011 “Huntington” and 2008 Keefer Ranch Vineyard Pinot Noirs
Pisoni Vineyards & Winery (Gonzales, CA) – 2011 Garys’ Vineyard Pinot Noir
Sequana Vineyards (Sebastopol, CA) – 2010 Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
Siduri Wines (Santa Rosa, CA) – 2011 Santa Rita Hills, 2011 Clos Pepe Vineyard Pinot Noirs
Sokol Blosser (Dundee, OR) – 2010 Dundee Hills and 2009 Estate Cuvée Pinot Noirs
Soter Vineyards (Carlton, OR) – 2010 North Valley, 2010 Mineral Springs Ranch Pinot Noirs
Stephen Ross Wine Cellars (San Luis Obispo, CA) – 2011 Stone Corral Vineyard and 2011 Santa Lucia Vineyard Pinot Noirs
Twomey (Healdsburg, CA) – 2011 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
Windward Vineyard (Paso Robles, CA) – 2007 and 2008 Estate Pinot Noirs
Food Highlights from the 2013 World of Pinot Noir
In addition to the great Pinot Noirs from around the world, the World of Pinot Noir event is well known for the quality of food available at their events. There were three primary food purveyors during the Grand Tastings. Each did an outstanding job regarding the quality of food, as well as ensuring an adequate quantity throughout the event.
On both days, the primary caterer was Pacific Harvest Events, serving up small bites of Spinach and Feta Tartlets, Apple and Chevre Tartlets, and Seared Beef Filet with Horseradish Creme and MicroArugula. At the Crostini Bar, our favorite toppings were the Tuscan White Bean & Thyme, and the Fava Bean Spread with Pozo Tomme & Truffle Oil. There was also a fully loaded Charcuterie Table in one tent, and a Pâté Table in another offering Duck Pâté, Olallieberry Jam, and Gherkin Relish. Led by Owner/Executive Manager Dawn White, the Pacific Harvest team continuously refreshed all of their food tables to keep the guests happy.
On Saturday, when the Grand Tasting increased to three tents of wineries, additional catering was offered by Lido Restaurant at the Dolphin Bay Resort & Spa. We enjoyed their Phyllo Tartlets with Brie, Honey, and Herbs, but kept going back to the table for their scrumptious Mini BLT enhanced with Fresh Tomato, Roasted Shallot Relish, Basil Crème Fraiche, and a Chiffonade of Greens.
Danika Reed from Vivant Fine Cheese also offered an interesting selection of cheeses for attendees on both Friday and Saturday.
All in all, the 2013 World of Pinot Noir event was a delightful opportunity to taste some of the best Pinot Noir available in the world, consume delicious food offerings which paired with but didn’t overwhelm the wines, and bask in a glorious sunny coastal atmosphere (well, until the fog rolled in on Saturday afternoon). It’s on our calendars for 2014 already, and you should seriously consider attending it yourself.
The World of Pinot Noir is a non-profit organization whose mission is to further the knowledge and breadth of Pinot Noir through educational seminars and tastings. You really should go to their website to join their mailing list so you will receive details about next year’s event as they unfold.
If you find yourself in the San Luis Obispo area before next year’s event, feel free to check out our recommendations for wineries and restaurants around there. Simply go to the navigation menu near the top of this page, click on “Favorites by Wine Region,” and then follow the drop-down menu to “Favorites in San Luis Obispo County,” where you can find our “Favorites in Edna Valley, Arroyo Grande Valley, and the City of San Luis Obispo.” Or, you can just take the easy way and click here.